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Empty Tomb Rolls

Just for Fun! “Empty Tomb” Rolls

Looking for a fun and easy recipe to bake with the kids this Easter weekend?  Check out these “Empty Tomb” rolls.  You can’t go wrong with marshmallows, butter and cinnamon and sugar!  Just be sure to seal them tight so the gooey goodness doesn’t escape from the “tomb”.

https://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/empty-tomb-rolls/

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Chef’s Spotlight: Chef Jacob Gordon Wright

Meet our March Chef’s Spotlight: Chef Jacob Gordon Wright!

Chef Jacob prepping for a weekly meal prep client.

Chef Jacob Gordon Wright was born and raised in the rural town of Lawson, Missouri, forty miles north of Downtown Kansas City.  In high school, his focus was chemistry and playing tuba with no set career goals.  After high school, he was introduced to the culinary program at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, KS.  Since day one, he fell in love with the culinary arts and soon realized his passion for preparing really great food.

Jacob has always felt strongly that he wanted to experience everything the hospitality industry has to offer.  He has worked in many different types of food service operations, from hospitals and hotels to catering and country clubs, absorbing all he can at every location.  In fall of 2013, Jacob earned his chef certification through the American Culinary Federation, and two Associate Degrees in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts with an emphasis in dietary management.

Creating food is his art, but Jacob wanted to do more for others too.  Teaching soon became his next goal.  Just over one year ago, Jacob joined the Friend That Cooks family of personal chefs.  It has been an incredible stepping stone for him to move from behind the line in restaurants to helping families improve their quality of life and educate them on basic nutrition that the general public lacks.  At the end of the day, Jacob does not cook only to fill stomachs and nourish minds; he cooks to bring happiness into everyone’s life.  Being able to connect with his clients and their families, and to see first-hand how the food he prepares directly improves their lives, is such an important part to loving what he does.

When he is not cooking, Jacob enjoys spending his free time with family and friends, wood working and being outdoors.  He especially likes foraging and camping in the spring.  In the winter months, when he is stuck indoors, he likes playing video games and experimenting with new recipes.

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Passover Cookies

Passover Cookies to enjoy all year!

Kosher for Passover, and gluten-free, these cookies work all year round!  Start early, or the day before, because this dough needs some time to chill. Check out the recipe for these delicious almond cookies from Epicurious below!

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/almond-cookies-with-cardamom-orange-zest-and-pistachios

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Seder Eggs – Beitza

Get Roasted.  But it’s not what you think.

seder plate

During Pesach/Passover many Jewish people use hard-boiled eggs as part of the celebration.  However, Jews from the Sephardi/Mizrachi tradition use oven-roasted or braised eggs.  Beitza.  This can be tricky because eggs will explode if they are just put into the oven and roasted at high temperatures. So, here are some traditional methods for roasting an egg:

  • The traditional method from Jews who lived in Transylvania/Turkey and the Balkan countries (Bulgaria/Romania, Croatia/Serbia, Macedonia, etc.) is to rub the egg with oil, and partially submerge it into the braising liquid with the meat and vegetables being prepared in the oven for the Seder meal.
  • The Mizrachi tradition (from Iran/Persia, Iraq/Syria, etc.) is to rub oil on the egg and wrap strips of meat around it, or stuff the eggs into the cavity of a hen or create a pocket in the meat to put the egg so the meat is holding/covering it. This acts as an insulation and causes the eggs to heat slower and cook evenly, so there’s less chance that the egg will explode
  • Another interesting method is the Yemenite-Jewish tradition of soft-boiling the egg for two to four minutes in coffee, and then placing the egg into or under the roasting meat in the oven. Whichever way you try, roasting an egg makes it really flavorful because the juices, broth, the flavors from spices, and the meat permeate the egg while roasting to create a wonderful treat!

At the conclusion of the Seder, it is customary to wish everyone Shalom/Peace and a return to the homeland by saying “Next year in Jerusalem!

-Written by Rabbi Yehonatan Levy (Chef Jonathon Levy)

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Foraging for Food

Seeing the foods thru the trees- Foraging for your dinner

fiddlehead-ferns-

It’s that time of year.  The warmer days and cooler nights make great weather for camping and hiking.  Next time you head out into the woods, take a look at the ground near the base of trees.  You can often find highly coveted wild foods to forage right there on the forest floor.  Morel mushrooms, ramps, fiddleheads all start to pop-up in early spring, and you don’t have to be an expert to know what to look for.  Foraging can even be a great activity for the kids, and an entertaining way to teach them about nature.  Even if youdon’t find something, it will still be a fun adventure.  Check out this YouTube video for some tips on what to look for when you are out in the woods.

morel mushrooms

rhubarb

 

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New Year, New Diet.

The Facts About Top Diet Trends

diet plan

Anyone on a new diet this year, err lifestyle plan?  New Year’s resolutions are all about losing weight, getting healthy and making changes.  There is certainly no shortage of diet trends out there but picking the right one for you can be tricky.  Not everyone has the same goals, or the same budget.  So, I thought I’d help you narrow down the choices based on facts.  Here are the top diet trends, a list of some important info, and a link where you can find more information.  (*Disclaimer: this list is in no way comprehensive or meant to cure or treat any disease or illness.  You should consult your doctor before beginning any new diet plan.  Also, I do have my degree in dietetics and have studied food, nutrition and culinary arts for the entirety of my adult life.  But I’m not a doctor.  The statements below are a collaboration of my opinion (the list itself) and researched facts (specifics pertaining to each diet plan).)  There are a zillion diets out there.  If the one you are interested in is not on this list, email me and I can help!

 

Paleo:  www.thepaleodiet.com

The basic premise is to eat like a caveman.  There are some conflicting ideas about whether the intention is to eat only foods found in the paleolithic era.  But since woolly mammoths and cave lions are now extinct, we have to be a little flexible.  While finding food is a smidge easier, i.e less hunting and gathering, more loading up the cart at Whole Foods- the idea is that the foods should be about the same; whole, nutrient dense, not-processed foods.

 

 

Foods Allowed:

  • Grass Fed meats, Eggs, Fish and Seafood, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts Seeds, Healthy Fats and Oils (olive, walnut, coconut, flaxseed, grapeseed, and of course avocado). Organic, non-GMO as much as possible.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Grains, Preservatives, Dairy (though some raw dairy is sometimes allowed), Refined Sugar, Refined Vegetable Oils, and even a few surprising foods like Legumes, Beans and Potatoes.

The various foods allowed and not allowed are not just based on what was available when our stone-age ancestors walked the Earth, but also about potential health benefits and harmful properties inherit therein.

 

Whole 30: whole30.com

You can do anything for 30 days.  And 30 days is just enough time to cut out the junk, let your body heal, establish healthier habits with food and get to a better you.

Foods Allowed:

  • Moderate amounts of meat, seafood, eggs. Lots of vegetables.  A few fruits.  And plenty of natural fats.  The idea is to consume whole, natural foods that are not processed, as minimally processed as possible, or to be able to read and understand every ingredient on a food label.

Foods to Avoid:

No Alcohol

  • Added Sugar- of any kind. So, no honey, agave, date syrup, coconut sugar, stevia or maple syrup.  Basically, if it makes the food sweeter, it’s a no-go.  I see you sneaky fruit juice!
  • Alcohol, even for cooking.
  • All grains.  Glutenous or Gluten Free.  Period.
  • No one really knows what legumes are (just kidding, we do!), but things like beans, lentils, soy and peanuts qualify.
  • Eggs of all forms-raw, pasteurized, fermented, frozen or soured.  If it comes out an animals mammary glands, it’s dairy.  And just to be clear, eggs are not dairy…they are just usually found in the diary section of the grocery store because that’s where the refrigerators are.
  • Some popular preservatives like Carrageenan, MSG and Sulfites.
  • And they also discourage the creation of “junk like foods” made from approved foods. Trying to make a chicken breast and broccoli brownie just misses the point altogether of avoiding junk food, doesn’t it?

Weight Watchers: www.weightwatchers.com

This oldie, but goodie, just got a face lift!  Their new Freestyle program offers greater flexibility with food choices, but still keep the accountability and tracking features that have scientifically proven to contribute to overall weight loss success.

Foods Allowed:  

  • All of them! Each food is assigned a point value, and based on your goals and current stats, you are assigned a certain number of points each day.  Spend, or rather eat, the points as you like, but track it all for greater success.

Foods to Avoid:

  • The usual- highly processed foods, added sugar and unhealthy fats.

 

Mediterranean Diet:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801

mediterranean dietAnother classic, this diet has been on the top 5 list for decades.  Developed after the eating habits of Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain and Italy, it mingles moderation and foods proven to help reduce risks for chronic and acute illness.

Major Points:

  • Eat primarily plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
  • Replace butter and other saturated or trans-fats with heart-healthy fats like olive oil.
  • Limit red meat to a few times a month.
  • Eat fish and chicken several times a week.
  • Enjoy red wine in moderation (optional).
  • Get plenty of rest and enjoy meals with friends and family.

 

Ketogenic (aka Keto) Diet: https://ketodash.com/ketogenic-diet

First, it is important to note that ketosis is not the same as ketoacidosis.  They are related, but the latter is very dangerous and can lead to serious complications.  Ketosis is the precursor to ketoacidosis, and while it is technically considered an adaptive nutritional state, it does have some important medical benefits.  The diet first started as a treatment method for epileptic patients to reduce seizures in the brain.  Previous therapies included outright starvation, which produced the same result.  However, the body suffered greatly as there was no nutrition to support the rest of the body.  What is now called “fed starvation”, the body gets the nutrition it needs thru the high fat, moderate protein, very low carb diet, and the brain gets the relief it needs thru the production of ketones.

Keto Diet

So what if you don’t have epilepsy?  Here’s where the science happens.  I’ll try to keep it simple.  Basically, the human body “prefers” glucose as a fuel source.  Think sugar and carbohydrates.  That’s why when you are hungry, I mean really really hungry, you unconsciously go for the sugary snacks and drinks.  They work fast because it is an efficient fuel source.  But what would happen if fat was the primary source of fuel for the body, and carbohydrates the last?  Well, that’s the Keto diet!  In a nut shell, the body doesn’t use fat directly as a fuel source, but instead has to convert it to glucose for use.  In that process, ketones are produced, and the body uses them for energy.

So how does someone lose weight eating mostly fat, if they already have excess fat?  Great question!  The answer, it takes some time.  Being in ketosis doesn’t happen overnight.  It can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, depending on activity level and other factors.  But once you reach that stage, your body has basically converted its primary fuel source from carbohydrates to fat.  And just like ALL FOOD you consume, taking in too much will lead to the excess being stored as fat- so you have to find the ratios that work best for your body and your activity level.

Foods Allowed:

  • Fat, like olives, avocados, bacon, fatty meats, butter, full fat cheese and other dairy, nuts. About 70% of your total calories for the day should come from fat. (As good an excuse to by the Wagyu beef as any!)
  • Moderate amounts of protein like red meat, chicken, eggs, fish and seafood. About 25% of your total calories should come from protein.  (This can be tricky to calculate since most protein is not just straight protein, but also contains some fat.)
  • Net Carbohydrates. Net, meaning total carbs minus the dietary fiber.  You can find it on a food label.  But remember, vegetables are technically carbs, albeit high fiber carbs.  But only about 5% of your total calories should come from carbohydrate food sources.

Tracking is key until you find a rhythm.  I suggest the My Fitness pal app, #notsponsored, because it does all the work and math for you.  Also, it is really easy to select foods from a list or add your own with the barcode scanner feature.

Foods to Avoid:

  • There isn’t a specific list of foods to avoid. Although high sugar foods like sweets, sodas, candies, etc. should just generally be avoided.  Also, high glycemic index foods like potatoes, pasta, rice, etc. are going to be hard to factor in because of their high net carb value.  That 5% will go fast!
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Chef’s Spotlight: Chef Jonelle Luchsinger

This month’s Chef’s Spotlight: Meet Chef Jonelle!

Chef Jonelle Luchsinger
Chef Jonelle Luchsinger

Raised in Anchorage, Alaska and Upstate NY, Chef Jonelle began her informal culinary training at a 100-year-old restaurant on one of The Finger Lakes. She quickly fell in love with cooking and decided to continue her education at Johnson & Wales University.  She graduated in 2007 with an associate’s degree.

Eager to practice her skills and further her education through experience, she worked for a variety of restaurants ranging in Middle Eastern, Modern American and Italian cuisines. She took pride in starting from the bottom, working her way up each station, absorbing everything she could along the way.

An opening in the in-house bakery of Rosalies Cucina, where she worked on the line, led to a full-time head baker position and a new love for bread and pastries. She would later go on to work under Maurizio Negrini, of Izzio’s, learning the art of Artisan Italian Bread.

Restaurant and bakery industries can be rough. They generally require working long hours on your feet during nights, weekends and holidays. In return, the pay is low, the benefits are few and the turnover is high causing for stressful working conditions. Even in the best managed restaurants, it’s hard to find a work/life balance while working opposite schedules as the rest of society. The high demands paired with few rewards of the industry can quickly turn the passion you once had into resentment.

Five years after switching gears to Quality Assurance and Food Safety Roles, she found herself once again on her feet, in her kitchen most nights and weekends. This time cooking not only because she wanted to, but because she had to.  An artist needs a creative outlet and a chef needs to cook!

Chef Jonelle is currently one year into her dream job at Friend that Cooks!  She is able to spend her days cooking; doing what she loves all while having endless creative freedom, a desirable schedule, a great management team supporting her, and amazing clients to cook for! Chef Jonelle currently lives in a north suburb of Denver.  She likes to grow her own vegetables and is planning her wedding that will take place later this year.

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Super Bowl LII Game Day Food

Our Favorite Super Bowl Recipes

It’s time to start thinking about your super bowl eating strategy because let’s admit it – you’re only here for the food. Sure, two great teams are going up against each other for a shot at that ring. But we’re here for the tasty, tasty food. And maybe the commercials too.

Whether your keeping things simple, heading to a potluck party or hosting a huge gathering, we’ve got some great recipe ideas that are sure to keep your guests satisfied from kick off to MVP pick. Check out our personal chefs’ favorite game day food below!

BLT Bites – Chef Brandon O’Dell

1 pkg     cherry tomatoes
¼ lb       crisp cooked bacon (substitute turkey bacon for a low-fat recipe)
1 cup     parsley leaves
½ cup    mayonnaise (you can substitute fat free mayo to make this low fat)

This is a stuffed cherry tomato recipe that resembles the popular flavor of BLT sandwiches. Start by using a sharp paring knife to cut a flat base on the bottom of each cherry tomato. Don’t cut off too much, just enough to give the tomato a small, flat base. With the same knife inverted downward, cut out the stem area of the tomato creating a circular opening ¾ the diameter of the tomato and hollowing out at least half of the inside of the tomato without cutting to the bottom of the tomato. Place tomatoes to the side to drain while you prepare the filling.

Break the bacon into pieces by hand and place in a food processor. Add the parsley and the mayonnaise. Blend until all pieces are small enough to be piped through a 3/8 inch opening. If the ingredients seem too dry to pipe, add mayonnaise until the filling is the correct mixture. Depending on the thickness of your bacon, you could also have to use less mayo than the recipe calls for. If you’re unsure, add half the mayo and blend, then continue to add more until the mixture reaches a consistency that can be piped, but not so loose that it is runny.

Put the filling mixture into a pastry bag, or create a makeshift pastry bag by putting the mixture into a one gallon plastic storage bag, cutting just enough of the tip to make an opening a little less than half an inch. Pipe the mixture into the openings of the tomatoes and chill until it’s time to serve. These tomatoes add beauty to any food table, and are incredibly flavorful while still being very simple.

 

“Banh Mi” Sliders – Chef Mark Maybon
Banh Mi Sliders

1 lb ground chicken thigh
1 lb ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp ginger, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp lemongrass, finely minced (only tender core)
2 eggs
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 cup breadcrumbs

 

  1. Saute first 4 ingredients until translucent and fragrant. Cool slightly.
  2. Gently mix sauteed veg and the rest of ingredients in a large bowl until just combined and homogenous.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray or oil. With wet hands, roll meatball mix into 1.5 oz balls and slightly flatten before putting on prepared sheet pan.
  4. Roast at 375 F until cooked through, approximately 12-15 minutes.

Cilantro Lime Carrot Slaw
3 cups shredded carrots
1 bunch minced cilantro
1 lime, juiced

  1. Toss to combine.

Oyster Sauce Aioli
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup oyster sauce

  1. Stir together in a bowl.

To assemble, split slider buns and spread aioli on top and bottom. Placed carrot slaw on bottom and top with meatball. (Optionally add super thin sliced fresh jalapeno rounds.) Place top buns on and skewer sliders to hold together for presentation. (If using jalapenos on all or half of sliders, place a slice on top to warn guests of spiciness)

 

Shredded Chicken Taquitos – Nate Lane

1.25lbs chicken breast, cooked & shreddedShredded Chicken Taquitos
4 ounces frozen chopped spinach
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
one packet Williams taco seasoning
20 corn tortillas
oil for frying

Method:

Mix chicken, spinach, cream cheese, and taco seasoning. Heat tortillas in microwave till warm and flexible. Divide chicken mixture among tortillas and wrapped tightly. Use toothpick to hold in place and pan fry over medium heat till each side is slightly browned. Best served with guacamole!

Teriyaki Wings – Chef Karie Baima

2 lb wing drummettesteriyaki wings
1 tbsp minced garlic
1tbsp minced ginger
1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
1/3 c brown sugar
2 tbsp aji mirin
3 green onions sliced
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Salt to taste

Method:

Heat oven to 350 °. Toss the wings with salt to taste and spread on a sheet pan. If the wings are touching, then use 2 sheet pans. This way they get crispy. Bake for 25 minutes, flip them and rotate the sheet pans and bake another 15 minutes, or until very tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, simmer the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, brown sugar and mirin for 10 minutes. Toss the sauce with the wings after their 2nd part of cooking. Return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

 

Buffalo chicken dip – Chef Travis Shaw

3-5 stalks celeryBuffalo Chicken Dip
1 onion
2-3 chicken breasts
2 cups buffalo sauce
1 package cream cheese
Blue cheese to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1) Sear chicken, remove, bake in 350F oven till cooked through
2) dice vegetables and add sauce or pan to deglaze
3) add buffalo sauce, cook till simmering, remove from heat, S&P to taste
4) beak apart cream cheese into pan and mix with till melted
5) pull chicken and add to pan
6) sprinkle blue cheese to taste
7) bake to melt cheese
8) enjoy with chips or veggies, great as lettuce wraps

 

Vegan cheese dip – Chef Emilie Newcomb

1 large carrot, peeled Vegan Cheese Dip
2 medium sized Yukon gold, peeled
3 cups veggie broth
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Paprika, cayenne, curry powder, black pepper, salt (to taste)

Method:

– Cut potato and carrot into 1-inch cubes
– In a pot, cook potato and carrot with veggie stock until soft
– While that’s cooking, chop the onion and garlic and sauté on medium/low until translucent
– Pour everything into blender
– Add cashews, nutritional yeast, and spices
– If it is too thick, add more stock. If it is too thin, add more cashews and nutritional yeast
-blend on high for one minute
– Add all spices
– Taste, then adjust to your liking
– Enjoy!

 

For more fun party foods ideas, follow us on social media for daily meal posts! Or check out our website here to learn more about our services.

Click the links below for quick access!

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Personal Chef Service | Meet Friend That Cooks

Meet Friend That Cooks Personal Chef Service

It’s everything you every wanted to know about the fastest growing in-home meal prep service in the Midwest. Meet Friend That Cooks Personal Chef Service. Learn about our mission and how we started.

About Us

Friend That Cooks Personal Chef Service began offering service in Wichita, KS in August of 2007. It started with one personal chef, founder Brandon O’Dell, as part time work to keep him busy between food service consulting projects. Within a few weeks, Friend That Cooks weekly meal prep was a hit. It was soon apparent it was going to be much more than a part time job for Brandon.

From his years of experience in the food service industry, Brandon knew the sacrifices cooks and chefs have to make to have a career. He believed there was a better way and dedicated himself to creating a work environment where talented cooks and chefs could have a career without sacrificing their personal lives to working the 60+ hour weeks that is common in the industry.

Our mission

It is the mission of Friend That Cooks Personal Chef Service to greatly improve the quality of life for our clients AND our employees by providing superior service and a superior career.

Friend That Cooks fulfills our mission to our clients by creating a work environment for our chefs they can’t find anywhere in the food service industry. We attract chefs who are used to a lot of work at little pay, and we pay them more than they can make cooking at a restaurant or in a food delivery company. We also offer our employees benefits they won’t find elsewhere in the food service industry, including maternity leave for both women and men.

Our Chefs

Our chefs are our business. Friend That Cooks sells Friendship, healthy eating, free time, and piece of mind. We do it by attracting the best applicants. We extensively test and screen them. We exhaustively train and support them. And we reward them as well as we possibly can. Our clients love our service because we love our chefs.

Meet Friend That Cooks Personal Chef Service

Friend That Cooks offers the most personal and affordable way for busy families, couples or people special diets to put healthy, scratch made, home cooked meals on the table for their family.

We have families, couples and individuals that use our weekly meal prep service for a myriad of reasons. Some use the service for weight loss, athletic training, controlling Diabetes and treating heart disease. Or some to simply ease the burden of planning meals while trying to balance a busy life with kids or work.

In addition to weekly meal prep, our personal chefs have the culinary expertise and large repertoires of incredible and creative dishes to provide cooking parties or private dinners for family gatherings. We do bachelorette and bachelor parties, birthdays, anniversaries, baby or wedding showers, rehearsal dinners and every occasion under the sun.

Whatever your reason for considering hiring a Friend That Cooks personal chef, you can rest assured that we can provide a service that you will love. You will also enjoy a value unlike any other offered by any personal chef, restaurant, or meal delivery service in any metro we operate.

Click here to contact us today and see if in-home weekly meal prep is right for your family.

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Chicken bratwurst | Personal Chefs in Chicago KC STL

Here’s a German meal with low fat chicken bratwurst, apple gravy, braised red cabbage and ricotta whipped potatoes.

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Weekly meal prep in Chicago
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Weekly meal prep in St. Louis
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Weekly meal prep in Kansas City and Wichita

Friend That Cooks Personal Chefs offer weekly meal prep for families with busy schedules, food allergies or special diets. We have personal chefs in Chicago, Kansas City, Wichita and St. Louis.

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Weekly meal prep in progress ¦ www.friendthatcooks.com

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Weekly meal prep in progress from www.friendthatcooks.com

Weekly meal prep in progress for a busy family with three young boys. The service cost for this family averages around $125 each week and their grocery bill averages around $70.

Friend That Cooks personal chefs offer weekly meal prep for families with busy schedules, food allergies and dietary restrictions in Kansas City and Wichita. www.friendthatcooks.com

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Chicken Pot Pie | blog.friendthatcooks.com

ChickenPotPieRoasted chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garden peas and garlic in a low sodium chicken gravy baked under homemade butter crust.

Friend That Cooks personal chefs offer weekly meal prep for busy families in Kansas City and Wichita. We shop, cook, clean up and stock your fridge with delicious meals at an affordable hourly rate.